Cape Town - Bonteheuwel

Father shot dead, two-year-old son wounded in escalating gang war

By Vincent Cruywagen 4 June 2020

Hungry residents wait to receive food from the Bonteheuwel Community Forum. (Photo supplied)

The shooting occurred in a known gang hotspot where the Hard Livings (HLs) and Playboy gangs battle for supremacy.

A Bonteheuwel father was shot and killed in an apparent drive-by-shooting on Wednesday night, 3 June. His two-year-old son, who was in his arms, was wounded and rushed to a nearby hospital.

The shooting happened at around 8pm in Bonteheuwel Avenue as Mogamat Johnson was walking, cradling his son in his arms. According to residents, a car pulled up alongside Johnson and a volley of shots was fired.

Three bullets slammed into Johnson, one hitting him in the neck before he staggered with his child, who was also wounded, into the yard of a nearby house where he collapsed.

Bystanders said the father died on the scene and the wounded baby was rushed in a private car to a nearby hospital. The unknown assailants sped away from the scene.

Drive-by-shootings in gang-ravaged areas on the Cape Flats are generally regarded as a “hit”, but in this instance residents are baffled as Johnson was not known to be a member of any gang in the area.

This is the second gang-related incident during which minor children were wounded. In the early hours of Monday 1 June, a seven-year-old boy was hit by a stray bullet while sleeping in a Wendy house in Red River Walk in Manenberg. Later that day, a 10-year-old girl and a 64-year-old man were wounded in separate incidents.

According to Bonteheuwel ward councillor Agnus Mckenzie, the drive-by-shooting occurred in a known gang hotspot where the Hard Livings (HLs) and Playboy gangs battle for supremacy. Late last year tensions between these two rival gangs led to sporadic gun battles in the streets.

“It would appear that Monday night shooting is very much related to this rivalry, predominantly focused on one part of Bonteheuwel driven by drug turf. This shooting, however, cannot diminish the amazing work achieved by residents of Bonteheuwel reducing gang-related crime by over 50%,” he said.

In July 2019, the City of Cape Town deployed 100 law enforcement officers to this gang-ridden area to quell the violence. 

Before the deployment, from January 2019 to June 2019, 44 murders were reported in the area. However, after the deployment the death toll had significantly dropped. 

However, tension between rival gangs appears to have reached a tipping point.

Renewed violence flared up in areas of Bonteheuwel, Manenberg, Hanover Park, Lavender Hill and Beacon Valley shortly after the announcement that the country had moved to Level 3.

Community activists said: “It was like gangsters waited for this announcement with open arms. Rival gangs came out with their guns and henchmen shortly after the strong police army presence pulled out of the areas.

“First we had to worry if we are going to die of Covid-19 and know it is back to square one where residents have to duck and dive, not sure who is the next target.”

Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies spokesperson Soraya Salie underlined that during Level 5 and Level 4 of the lockdown the area had experienced a sense of tranquility and calm.

“It is very disturbing that since Level 3 and the opening of alcohol sales, crime and domestic violence has taken its toll again. We continue to pray for peace over our Bonteheuwel,” Salie concluded.

On Monday night, police combed the area looking for clues. They have opened a case of murder and attempted murder. DM

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